Sunburn (Golpe de Sol) is a conceptual Portuguese drama exploring the complex connections between four long-time friends. Writer-director Vicente Alves do Ó fills each scene with bold experimental filmmaking touches that draw out the attitudes that gurgle under the surface.
The feature film Wretched Things is made up of three separate shorts that are only connected thematically. “We men are wretched things,” writes Homer in The Iliad, and writer-director Gage Oxley throws each of his three leading men into an odyssey during which they become a kind of sex worker. Shot in Leeds, the films are powerful and pointed, each with its own distinct kick. Oxley and his cast sat down with Gay Essential to talk about the project.
Filmmaker Michael Rice spent a year interviewing a range of people within a very specific community for this documentary, and he packs rather a lot into the brief running time. ParTy Boi: Black Diamonds in Ice Castles is an exploration of the impact of crystal meth addiction on the gay black subculture in America.
With his feature writing-directing debut, Greek-South African filmmaker Etienne Kallos takes a subtle but sharply pointed look into Afrikaans culture as it grapples with larger social shifts. Within this, The Harvesters (Die Stropers) explores the thorny issue of identity and sexuality in a provocative and darkly moving way.
For her first narrative feature, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner spent more than a decade developing this biopic about photographic artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Her passion in the project shows in its striking attention to detail and her willingness to dig deeply into the more complex corners of this iconic man’s life.
Winner of the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the Guatemalan drama José is an astute look at male sexuality in a culture that’s infused with machismo. This is an earthy, honest story using observational filmmaking to touch on big themes without ever being preachy. Chinese-born American filmmaker Li Cheng cleverly lets the plot unfold in such a subtle way that the movie has a documentary feel to it.
Basically an accidental documentary, Ruminations came about when director Robert James went in search of stories about gay hippies in 1960s San Francisco and stumbled upon Rumi Missabu, a notorious raconteur who calls himself a “male actress”. As one of the original Cockettes, he is an oracle of anecdotes.